A few days ago we told you again about the importance of people to a lean manufacturing transformation. Now a few examples of how most consultants and organizations don’t understand the second pillar of lean: respect for people.
First, an article on the success of Merit Medical.
Net income for the first quarter of 2008 improved 45% to $4.3 million.
Quarterly sales grew 5% to $53.6 million. Catheter sales increased 11%,
inflation device sales rose 7%, stand-alone device sales grew 6% while
custom kit and tray sales remained flat.
In 2007 Merit’s CEO, Fred Lampropoulos (pictured), implemented a
program of lean manufacturing, automation, off-shore production and
consolidation of the company’s Sensor Systems facilities.
Gross margins for the first quarter of 2008 were 40.3% of sales,
compared to 37.0% of sales for the first quarter of 2007. The
improvement demonstrates the increased productivity stemming from an
18% reduction in manufacturing headcount and cost savings initiatives.
Successful, top and bottom line growth… and whacking a bunch of people while claiming to implement a lean manufacturing program along with off-shore production. Sorry… that’s LAME.
Next, Carl Wright gives us a "roadmap to lean implementation." It’s interesting, so I’ll paste a chunk of it here.
- Form team (mix of lean manufacturing and relevant business experience)
- Develop communication and feedback channel for everyone
- Meet with everyone and explain the initiative
- Begin to train all employees (lean overview, eight wastes, standard operations, kaizen, RCPS, PDCA)
- Facility analysis – Determine the gap between current state and a state of “lean”
- 5-S – It is the foundation of lean. Workplace organization is critical for any lean initiative
- TPM – Begin Total Productive Maintenance early (used throughout lean)
- Value Stream Mapping – Determine the waste across the entire system
- 7 (or 8) waste identification – Use with value stream mapping to identify system waste
- Process mapping – A more detailed map of each process
- Takt time – Determine need to produce on all processes, equipment
- Overall equipment effectiveness and six losses – Determine the losses on all processes and equipment
- Line balance – Use, if necessary, with takt time and OEE
- SMED – Push setup times down to reduce cycle time, batch quantity and lower costs
- Pull / one-piece flow / Continuous Flow Analysis – Utilize kanban and supermarkets
- Analyze quality at the source application – Poor quality stopped at the source
- Implement error-proofing ideas
- Cellular manufacturing/layout and flow improvement – Analyze facility and each process
- Develop standardized operations – Concurrently with SMED, line balance, flow, layouts
- Kaizen – Continue improving operations, giving priority to bottlenecks within the system
Tools, tools, and more tools. Good stuff. Some human elements like Kaizen and training, but the respect for people pillar goes far deeper. Far, far deeper.
Remember the words of Fujio Cho.